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Jason Schreier's Top 10 Games Of 2019 – Kotaku

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It’s been a challenging year for many reasons here at Kotaku—well, really just one reason—and I don’t know what the future will bring, but I do know that 2019 had a lot of really cool video games. Let’s talk about them, shall we?

From lightsabers to logic puzzles, here are my top ten games of the year, starting with three games that completely blew me away followed by seven games I loved a lot.

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Outer Wilds

Combining the time-hopping structure of Majora’s Mask with the ambitious spacefaring of Metroid, Outer Wilds is one of the best games I’ve ever played, period. It’s a treat to play through, a cerebral and rewarding archaeological adventure through deep space and goofy ancient alien civilizations. The controls take some getting used to, but once you’ve started getting the hang of Outer Wilds’s rhythms, unraveling its mysteries is a real joy. And the music! The music! What a game, what an accomplishment, what an ending, what an experience. If you haven’t played this, please do. [Played on: PC]


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Disco Elysium

Take the old-school isometric gameplay of Planescape: Torment, strip out the combat, and stuff it full of brilliant stories to create Disco Elysium, a game about decay, communism, and choosing whether or not to stick your thumb in your ass. Although it’s really more of a visual novel than a role-playing game, Disco Elysium should appeal to anyone who loves narrative, great writing, and games that make you really sit and ponder the potential consequences of your decisions. Plus you can have a heart attack from kicking a mailbox too hard. [Played on: PC]

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Baba Is You

One of the fundamental principles of game design is to take an idea, introduce it to the player in as simple as way as possible, and then find ways to make it increasingly more complicated or subverted throughout the game. Baba Is You executes this principle about as well as any game I’ve ever played. The concept is straightforward: every word is an object or state, and every sentence is a rule. Beating a level requires you to make contact between whatever object is “You” and whatever object is “Win.” All you can do is move in the four cardinal directions and push words and objects around. The first few levels are straightforward. Then, things start getting trickier. The words grow more complicated, the objects are placed in tougher locations, the levels start to convince you you’re a genius for solving them. Soon enough, you’ll feel like you’ve ascended to your very own version of the galaxy brain meme. [Played on: Switch]

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Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

This was the year I really fell in love with From Software games—after only sort of appreciating them before—so it’s no surprise that Sekiro blew me away, even if I did get stuck on that Genichiro fight (stupid lightning) and had to stop playing for a while. What I love most about this game is the verticality. Hopping around and flinging yourself through the air with a grappling hook is just about as fun as it gets, even when you know that every time you die, one of your buddies gets the plague. [Played on: PC]

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Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

Whereas most of my favorite games of 2019 were innovative and original, sometimes you just have to appreciate a good piece of comfort food. Jedi Fallen Order takes the best parts of every AAA game out there—the sword fighting of Sekiro, the power climb of Metroid, the cinematic scale of God of War, the climbing of Uncharted—and puts them all in a beautiful, well-designed package that never feels stale. It’s also got the best Star Wars story of the year by far. [Played on: PC]

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Control

I have an appreciation for video games that feel like novels, and Remedy’s Control is up there with the best of them, combining smooth, satisfying combat with a clear artistic point of view. The ending is a little underwhelming, but exploring the Oldest House is really delightful, and the art direction is something to behold. Also, you can fly. [Played on: PC]

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Dragon Quest Builders 2

The first Dragon Quest Builders was a lovely surprise, a combination of Dragon Quest and Minecraft that out-shined them both. The second improves upon its predecessor in just about every way, streamlining some of the first game’s fiddlier aspects and adding some grand new features, like a Breath of the Wild-style hang-glider that lets you soar across the map. Perhaps my favorite part of the game is that you can go explore other people’s creations. I’ll never have the time or wherewithal to build a massive, bustling town in Dragon Quest Builders 2, but I sure am glad other people did. [Played on: Switch]

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Fire Emblem: Three Houses

There are nearly 20 screenshots on the Nintendo Switch page for Fire Emblem: Three Houses, but not a single one contains actual gameplay. They’re all just anime characters in different poses. Really, is there any better way to sum up this game? [Played on: Switch]

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Shovel Knight: King of Cards

This year marked the end of the Shovel Knight saga, which started with a humble Kickstarter in 2013 and somehow morphed into five games along the way. The developers at Yacht Club Games have clearly honed their platforming design skills over those years, as King of Cards is the best one yet. The levels are short, sweet, and full of secrets. The optional card game is better than you’d guess. And King Knight—the petulant, horrifying hero of this prequel story—has a Wario-like heft to his moves that make the game feel weighty and really satisfying. [Played on: Switch]

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CrossCode

This is a bit of a cheat. Technically, CrossCode came out last year, but I didn’t discover it until the end of December, and it became one of my go-to games throughout 2019. CrossCode is a modern take on a Super Nintendo action-RPG (think: Terranigma et al) but adds enough unique twists to feel special. It’s a single-player game, but it’s set mainly within a fictional MMORPG called CrossCode, allowing for some interesting storytelling and many good jokes. (Some of your party members might duck out because they have to log off and do their homework.) The combat feels great, the bosses are tough and satisfying, and the dungeons are full of brilliant Zelda-style puzzles. (The overworld is full of puzzles, too. If you like puzzles, this is the game for you.) This is one of those games that will likely get a ton of attention next year when it comes to Switch, so if you play it now, you can be ahead of the curve. [Played on: PC]

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Runners-up: AI: The Somnium Files, Zelda: Link’s Awakening,

Game I got into this year for the first time and, holy shit man: Bloodborne

Games that might have made the list if I’d had time to play more of them:  Luigi’s Mansion 3, Astral Chain, Judgement, Untitled Goose Game, Guildlings

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Game I know I’d absolutely love if I had the time to play it: Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers 

Game I need to play more for reasons beyond fun: Ring Fit Adventure

Website I wish hadn’t been murdered: Deadspin

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Shortage of microchips is shortcutting mobile phone manufacturing – Global Times

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The Kunpeng 920 chip, among other server chips, showcased at Huawei Beijing research center. Photo:CGTN

The Kunpeng 920 chip, among other server chips, showcased at Huawei Beijing research center. Photo:CGTN

A global microchip shortage is plaguing the entire cell phone manufacturing, as well as hitting personal computer making and car production.

The shortage is spurred by COVID-19-induced supply crunch, the fallout from US’ trade war and a fierce arms race, according to mobile phone manufacturers and experts,  and the chip shortfall is likely to last for months.

A growing chorus of mobile phone vendors warned in recent weeks they cannot access enough chips to make their products.

“The chips and other components from Qualcomm are out of stock, including power supply and RF devices,” a person with Chinese smartphone maker Realme said on Monday.

“There’s a shortage of microchips this year. It’s not just shortfall but severe shortage,” Lu Weibing, vice president of Xiaomi group said on his Weibo account on Feb 24.

Jiang Xiaofeng, sales director of Umidigi, a Chinese mobile phone company, told Global Times on Monday that the whole industry is facing challenges including increasing prices of raw materials and even running out of stock. 

“Due to the influence of COVID-19, the cost of mobile phone manufacturing industry is rising rapidly.” said Jiang. 

Jiang noted that the price of semiconductor chips keeps rising, which affect their manufacturing directly, and the production cost may not go down in a short time.

Key industrial players like Qualcomm, have noted the shortage. “The shortage in the semiconductor industry is across the board,” said incoming Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon in January, CNBC reported.

The delivery time of the whole series of materials for Qualcomm has been extended to more than 30 weeks, and the delivery time of CSR Bluetooth audio chips to 33 weeks, Yicai reported, citing person in the mobile industrial chain.

Some chip makers which cannot resume normal production because of the US sanction measures, such as SMIC, also exacerbated the market shortage, Xiang Ligang, director-general of the Beijing-based Information Consumption Alliance, told the Global Times on Monday.

As a result major smartphone makers have begun hoarding components which helped accelerate the market shortage, Xiang added.

Umidigi, for example, had prepared a batch of smart phone chips in advance, according to Jiang. “We usually pre-stock materials for our manufacturing capacity in advance of three to six months based on our plans,” said Jiang.

He said the current chips for the company can meet the requirement of daily manufacturing capacity and company’s stocked chips can be used until the end of the second quarter of 2021.

Other mobile phone manufacturers including Huawei, Oppo, vivo are also reported to increase stocking components.

Experts predicted that chips are likely to remain in short supply over the coming months as demand remains higher than ever.

According to the Semiconductor Industry Association, global chip sales would grow 8.4 percent in 2021 from 2020′s total of $433 billion, up from 5.1 percent year-on-year.

Xiang estimates there will be a short-term price hike up due to the uneven supply and demand, but the shortage would be eased by the second half of the year. “As far as I know chip manufacturers are increasing their production capacity and China’s accelerated speed in the construction of chip foundries is also expected to ease the shortage,” he said.

Xiao Yaqing, Minister of the Ministry of industry and information technology, told a briefing on Monday that China will provide necessary support at the national level to build a market-oriented semiconductor industry.

“We will increase tax cuts for IC enterprises and further enhance the basic foundation of the industry including raw materials, technology and equipment,” Xiao said.

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Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 major leak reveals design, Snadragon 678 chipset – GSMArena.com news – GSMArena.com

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Xiaomi will announce its Redmi Note 10 lineup on March 4 but the phone keeps leaking all over the palce. After we saw its box and back panel, now we get to learn more about the phone itself, including screen, charging, and chipset.

The Redmi Note 10 will be powered by a Snapdragon 678 – a slightly enhanced SD675, built on the 11nm LLP process. It will have an overclocked main CPU dual-core cluster at 2.2 GHz, while a 5,000 mAh battery will keep the lights on.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 leaks in retail photos with Snadragon 678 chipset

The battery is a ever so sslightly smaller than the Redmi Note 9’s (which had a 5,020 mAh power cell) but will bring 33W fast charging, becoming the first non-Pro Redmi Note to have such high rates.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 leaks in retail photos with Snadragon 678 chipset

The image also reveals a 6.43” Super AMOLED screen with a single punch hole for the selfie camera in the middle. This Redmi Note 10 will also have dual speakers, which is hardly any surprise – there’ll be a dedicated one on the bottom, while the earpiece on top will act as the other channel.

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Vivo S9 5G confirmed to feature Dimensity 1100 and UFS 3.1 – gizmochina

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Today, Vivo rolled a promo video of the Vivo S9 5G smartphone that is slated to launch on March 3 in China. The design of the Vivo S9 5G was revealed last week through its official renders. Today’s promo video teases the handset in real and confirms some of its key features.

The short video reveals that the Vivo S9 5G has a wider notch on the display like the predecessor Vivo S7 5G smartphone. The notch houses a dual selfie camera system. The company confirmed last week that it includes a 44-megapixel lens as the primary selfie camera.

The backside of the Vivo S9 5G has a rectangle-shaped module for its triple camera system. Leaks have claimed that it includes a 64-megapixel main camera. The promo video confirms that the Vivo S9 5G is powered by the Dimensity 1100 chipset and UFS 3.1 storage.

Speaking of Dimensity 1100, the handset has appeared with the chipset and 12 GB of RAM on Geekbench. The handset can be seen running on Android 11 OS. In the single-core test, the handset scored 860 points and it recorded a score of 3532 in the multi-core test.

Other leaks have revealed that the Vivo S9 5G will sport an AMOLED screen that offers a 90Hz refresh rate. The device could be housing a 4,100mAh battery that supports 33W fast charging.

The Vivo S9e 5G is also going to launch with Vivo S9 5G on Wednesday. The company has confirmed that the device will sport a 32-megapixel selfie camera. Past reports have revealed that the Vivo S9e has specs like Dimensity 820 chipset, 8 GB of RAM, and a 4,100mAh battery with 33W fast charging.

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